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Dahi Handi: cultural synthesis of society

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Popular cultures are always in a position of melting point inside the society and the products that are ultimately thrown up; find expression through another popular medium of entertainment, the cinema. The popularization that Dahi Handi has attained gaining international recognition though may have been a by-product of the relentless coverage by multitude of television programmes, however it was cinema which popularized this festival and scooped it out from being a mainstream festival of Mumbai to popularizing it at all India level.

The first film which has given eloquent tribute to Dahi Handi is the Shammi Kapoor starrer BLUFF MASTER and its song, Govinda ala re ala… is still the anthem tune of Dahi Handi wherever the competition is staged. This film though belonging to a Black & White era was able to strike such a chord with the audience that all the processions associated with Dahi Handi as it is celebrated in Mumbai and the adjoining areas being only with this song even to this day. Fortuitously, it was a Manmohan Desai directed Movie, and the way he has been able to capture the nuance and angst of a mill worker, is what has endured this song even more than forty years after it was made. Manmohan Desai had eloquently demonstrated that he knew the pulse of the audience and could create magic by using simple devices for a song. The simplicity of the instruments, and usage of the folk instruments, as Kalyanji Anandji did it in this song demonstrated with conviction that this duo had their ears to the ground, as far as sensibility towards capturing the mood of popular culture was concerned.

Surprisingly enough, in between quite a lot of movies were made by the Hindi film industry, but none of them tried to capture the essence of a Dahi Handi as it was done through BLUFF MASTER. There were multitude of songs, but none of the songs could capture this nuance. Marathi films however, continued to propagate the concept of Dahi Handi on a regular basis.

It was left to another entertainer, who when made the film KHUDDAR brought back the Dahi Handi once again into relief in a big way, and it was Amitabh Bachchan who stepped into the shoes of Shammi Kapoor, and the song, ..Much Gaya Shor Saari Nagari re… became a rage and it is the second song which succinctly catches the nuance of Dahi Handi.

None of our macho stars have been featured in a song that could become a rage, to be featured in the billboard of Dahi Handi songs. The oeuvre of Dahi Handi related songs are not in such large numbers, owing probably to the fact that there are very few films, which have been made that try to capture the angst of a labour who is trying to survive in the city of Mumbai, and even if the films have been made, they tend to convert towards such a serious overtone that the makers tend to forget that there are moments in the life of a laborer as well when he tries to drop his hair. He does that in reality, but it is just that the approach has to be deconstructed so that one could have a rich repertoire of songs, to be played on this day. May be, one of these days, sensing the way in which this occasion has emerged, as a successful marketing exercise would come out with a film that would be replete with songs and situations of Dahi Handi.

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